Monday, April 27, 2015

April 27, 2015- Week 8 in Mayorazgo!

Well, this week was pretty normal! We are still having a lot of success with the less-actives, but investigator wise.... well, we're working on getting more references and news! Nancy is doing well, and they're working on getting married so she can get baptized, so that's good news! And her son Irving is probably getting baptized this week! So that will be exciting!
This week was a lot like last week, with lots of walking (but less sunburnt faces!) But Hna Perez and I decided that when no one was home or we couldn't keep walking anymore, we would go to a members house and look for ways to serve. And if they didn't let us do something for them (because most say, "Hermanas! Of course I won't let you guys help me wash the dishes! You're servants of the Lord!") then we asked them for brooms so we could sweep their neighbor's sidewalk. And that's what we did! I think a lot of them were extremely surprised... and their neighbors were too! But it did help us to feel better, and to find more people to teach.
We had a super zone conference this week! Honestly, it helped me out a ton! The Zone Leaders talked about our weaknesses...and focused in on Ether 12:27. We talked about recognizing the weaknesses, working to over come them, and recognizing that our weaknesses don't define who we are. There's a talk that I really love by Elder Uchtdorf titled "Forget Me Not" and one part talks about our weaknesses:
I want to tell you something that I hope you will take in the right way: God is fully aware that you and I are not perfect.

Let me add: God is also fully aware that the people you think are perfect are not.

And yet we spend so much time and energy comparing ourselves to others—usually comparing our weaknesses to their strengths. This drives us to create expectations for ourselves that are impossible to meet. As a result, we never celebrate our good efforts because they seem to be less than what someone else does.

Everyone has strengths and weaknesses.

It’s wonderful that you have strengths.

And it is part of your mortal experience that you do have weaknesses.

God wants to help us to eventually turn all of our weaknesses into strengths, but He knows that this is a long-term goal. He wants us to become perfect, and if we stay on the path of discipleship, one day we will. It’s OK that you’re not quite there yet. Keep working on it, but stop punishing yourself.

Dear sisters [and brothers], many of you are endlessly compassionate and patient with the weaknesses of others. Please remember also to be compassionate and patient with yourself.
As missionaries, I think our weaknesses seem even more apparent than they normally would. And sometimes, I get down on myself for not being able to do some things better or in the way I would like. But this zone conference was absolutely perfect because it helped us to stay motivated and keep trying. 

Story of the week: Well, the Primary song "I Hope They Call Me on a Mission" has been in my head ALL week! But every time I start to sing it, my companion starts singing "I Hope They Make Me an Ex-Missionary"   -_-  She likes raining on my parade haha but I sure do love her!
We also got to give surprise talks yesterday at church! I guess the bishopric informed our mission leader that my comp and I were going to give talks....but he forgot to tell us! Thank goodness they mentioned it to us about 5 minutes before the meeting started or else I'm sure it would've been a disaster! I realized while I was giving my talk that...the Lord has blessed me in SO many ways here. One of the ways has been with the Spanish. Honestly, it was one of the hardest things of the first part of my mission. It stressed me out to speak in lessons, not to mention talks in church! But as I was talking yesterday, I realized that Heavenly Father really can bless us with the gift of tongues! It's something so subtle and a daily process, that sometimes it's hard to notice. But 17 months ago I couldn't even say "My name is Sister Smith" in Spanish. And now, well, I can at least say more than that, haha! Heavenly Father is so incredible, and I'm so grateful for His help!
Well, that was our week! Sorry that there isn't much to tell! But have a great week! I love you all!!
Love always,
Hermana Smith

Photos:
We went to a lake/pond/I'm-really-not-sure-what-it's-called-in-English-anymore today! It was nice to get out and see something new. When you're in the middle of a city, it's difficult to see places like this haha







Friday, April 24, 2015

April 20, 2015- Week 7 in Mayorazgo!

Hey everyone!
This week was completely crazy, but great! Well, first of all, my new companion is AWESOME! Her name is Hermana Perez, from Chiapas (like Hermana Gomez!). She has almost 5 months in the mission, and is the "daughter" of Hermana Traylor! I feel like, with all the things that happened this week, that we have been together for a long time, but it hasn't even been a week! But I love being with her. She is definitely the perfect last companion to have. She's eager to work hard, is super funny, and loves everyone. It's going to be a great transfer with her!
Well, I'm not gonna lie, we got REALLY sunburned this week from walking everywhere. I promise we put on sunblock, but it didn't help! I think the sun in Mexico is different. I look like a lobster and my companion keeps saying she's black now, haha. We spent the days visiting everyone we could and seeing a lot of miracles. Most of the miracles occured with the less-actives. They sure are progressing! 8 of them came to church yesterday!
This week, President also put us in charge of taking care of a sister missionary that was in the hospital. After visiting her there, we also helped take care of her at the mission home. It was really crazy and...well, I can't really explain it right now, but I promise I will once I'm home. But, one thing that I do know is that miracles happen. God is in PERFECT control of our lives, and He truly knows what's best for us. I don't have the words to explain how grateful I feel to Him for the miracles with this sister missionary. He truly does love us.
We were finally able to meet Lupita's son this week (the one that is super prepared to accept the gospel!) His name is Fransisco! He has SOOOOO many questions, but he's starting to realize that our church exactly how Christ's church should be. One thing that really surprised me was when he asked if we pay tithing in our church. We told him yes, then he asked us if we pay 10% like it should be! We told him yes and he was completely surprised! He then told us that of all the churches he has talked to, we are the only ones that pay a tithe of 10%. Most people we talk to don't accept the law of tithing very easily...but it was one of the things that helped him to have the desire to keep listening! We have another appointment with them tonight! :)
Funny/Gross Moment of my Mission: Well, after 17 months, after hearing of countless stories of this happening to other missionaries, it finally happened to me. On Saturday. I walked under a telephone line...and received a little "present" from a bird. My companion couldn't stop laughing and I was completely horrified. Have a happy week, everyone! haha

Hermana Perez and I studied a lot about the Sacrament this week, to help motivate the less-actives to come to church. In the talk by Sister Esplin in the October General Conference, she quoted Elder Holland who said "One of the invitations inherent in the sacramental ordinance is that it be a truly spiritual experience, a holy communion, a renewal for the soul." And it was a little funny because when we got to church yesterday, we were completely burnt out (and literally burned) and unsure of how to help our few investigators to progress. But as I took the Sacrament, I felt that renewal that my soul needed. I have no idea what waits for us this week, but I do know that partaking of the Sacrament each weeks helps us to increase our spiritual endurance and renew our commitment to follow Christ in every way that we can. The Church is true. :)
I love you all so much! Have a fantastic week!!
Love always,
Hermana Smith


April 13, 2015- Week 6 in Mayorazgo!



I have news! Good news!! I'm staying here in Granjas for my last transfer! I'm so happy!! This really is one of the best areas, and I feel so grateful to be here. The sad news... Hermana Leri finishs her mission tomorrow. So...no surprise transfers this time, she definitely won't be my companion again. :( But my new companion will be awesome too, I know it! I'll find out who she is tomorrow!

This week was a great week 6. We were able to see a lot of miracles - in others and in ourselves. This week, we were able to start teaching a new family that contacted us in the street! The Familia Mora Soriano - Mateo (the dad) is less-active, and introduced the church to his wife, Nancy about 6 years ago, when their little girl with Downs Syndrome was born. Since the first moment we met them, we felt something super special. Amber, their daughter, is just pure love. She lights up the world, and the parents have been able to strengthen their testimonies of God through their experiences with her. Nancy still says she's not ready to get baptized, but their little boy Irving is! His baptism date is set for May 2nd and he is super excited! He's been reading the Book of Mormon everyday and is so smart! We just love this family! They came to our ward for the first time yesterday, and everyone just fell in love with them.
And Lupita and her family! So Lupita is a reference from a less active family, is about 65 years old, and this week we were able to teach her and her daughter the restoration! Her daughter is SUPER interested and they are so prepared! And...they say that her son is even MORE interested! We haven't been able to meet him yet because he works a lot, but he takes all of the pamphelts that we give them and reads them over and over and over again. They weren't able to come yesterday to church, but we feel like they're really going to progress!

We also saw SO much progress in less-actives this week! So many of them came to church yesterday, and most of them are starting to align their lives with the Gospel again. There is one who told us that he met with the Bishop this last week to start preparing for a mission! I think we literally screamed for joy, haha.
Friday was just a great, crazy day! I had intercambios with Hermana Rojas and we both felt the need to study about the Book of Mormon during our personal study. After sharing what we studied, we made the goal to teach and testify specifically of the Book of Mormon with everyone that we saw that day. And...I'm not joking, the only people we saw that day were all the people that we have been trying to see for the last 6 weeks and none have been able to! But Friday was that day! Investigators, less-actives...and as we talked with them and got to know them, we felt the strongest impressions to read from the Book of Mormon with them and testify that it's true. And wow - the results were amazing. We have appointments with ALL of them this next week, and they all seem generally interested. There is a lot of power in that wonderful book, and I know that it is true. I know that it is the most correct book that we could ever hold in our hands, that it testifies clearly of our Savior, and that we will draw closer to Him and our Heavenly Father if we study its words.
This week was also a week of lots of reflextion. As Hermana Lerigeth is finishing her mission and I'm starting the last transfer... we were able to think of a lot of goals of how we can become more and more converted disciples each day. And to go along with that, Mom sent me a really awesome quote this week, and I want to share it:

"You only get one chance to serve a mission; it is your responsibility, your duty, to use it to the fullest; to give every last ounce of energy until you collapse in exhaustion at the end of it. All the hardships, all the tears, all the hard work will be looked back upon as the best thing you've ever done, not because you enjoyed it, not because you baptized everyone, but because you gave everything you had, even when you didn't think you could, and especially when you didn't want to. Live your mission to your fullest, work harder than you've ever worked before. Let people know that this is the most important thing in the world to you... If you do not run until you have nothing left to give, and then keep going anyway; cry and pray and work and sweat and plead until you are so drained that all you can do is turn to the Lord; if you don't do this, then these people will not come to this joy because of you - their failure to come to Christ will be partially upon your head. Come out of your mission proud of what you've done, and this experience will bless the rest of your life."
~Elder Jeffery R. Holland
I really like this quote. And...even if you're not serving a mission, everyday needs to be lived to the fullest as well. Everyday, we have to give our all to Heavenly Father, our families, our church callings, others... Let others know that this Gospel is the most important thing to us. This Gospel is the most important thing that I have, and I love that I get to share that with others. Maybe I haven't been perfect in doing so... but I have tried to give everything I have. And I will continue to do so, and so must all of us. The race never ends! And luckily, we have a Savior who is running with us, every step of the way. And I love that it says "until you are so drained that all you can do is turn to the Lord." Asi es.
I love all of you so much! Have a fantastic week!!
Love always,
Hermana Smith

Photos:
-With the Familia Mora Soriano! Amber, Irving and their parents Mateo and Nancy! 
-Ruth! She's great haha :)




Wednesday, April 8, 2015

April 6, 2015- Week 5 in Mayorazgo!

Well, this week was great, like always!
On Monday/Tuesday, we had intercambios with two hermanas, and I went with Hermana Lima to her area. She is a new hermana, about to finish her training, and she is wonderful! We had a wonderful time, and I learned a lot from her. She is from Guatemala, and joined the church a little over a year ago...but she has been waiting to join the church since she was 15! Her testimony is so strong, and I could tell that every person she meets is affected by her love and testimony.
We also had intercambios this week with... Hermana Gomez and Hermana Olvera! This time I went with Hermana Gomez. Goodness, I love that woman!! Since being companions, we have been able to have 2 intercambios together, and each time, it just keeps getting better and better. We definitely aren't newbie teachers anymore, and it was so great being able to teach with her again. She is incredible! We had a lot of crazy experiences...one of them being that a JW contacted us in the street, but after sharing a scripture with him, he told us that we are "very smart missionaries" and that he's going to "investigate what we shared a little bit more." :)
This week....we visited a lot of less-actives again. But unlike last week, a lot of them let us in and came to conference this weekend! It was really awesome to meet them, and that they were able to make it to the conference. They are all really great, just passing through things, and many of them introduced us to their family members who aren't members...so now we have a whole bunch of new investigators! I think the greatest was last night... we passed by to see a young man, less active, who has NEVER been home...but was there this time! His girlfriend was there, his sister, his mom, his grandma, and two of his cousins, all of which live in our area! And they all listened and all agreed to let us visit them!
And well, this week was CONFERENCE! Haha, it was so great, wasn't it? I feel like I received a lot of answers to my prayers, and I could truly feel that they are inspired men and women called by God. There were so many talks that I liked... and I don't have my notes to put thoughts that I liked! But more than anything, I know that President Monson is a prophet of God, that God answers our prayers, and that there is A LOT for us to do as members of the church. I know that as we get closer and closer to the Second Coming...there's going to be a lot more opposition and it may be harder to stay firm as devoted disciples. But it's the daily things we do that matter, and as long as we keep our eyes fixed on our eternal goals, we'll be able to resist the temptations and challenges that will come.

I can't believe that it's already week 6 in this transfer!!!! We're super excited to work this week! We're also going to have a couple more intercambios and do our best to find more news!! I love all of you so much!!! Thank you for all you do! Have a great week!!
Love always,
Hermana Smith
Photos:
-We made a massage train while cooking lunch between conference sessions! (The last woman, Rosi, is standing on a chair so she can reach my companion! haha!)
-After the conference yesterday! The only with the family is the bishop's family! they are super great!





Sunday, April 5, 2015

March 30, 2015- Week 4 in Mayorazgo

Hey everyone!
This week was such a fast, crazy one! But it was so great!
The best part of the week was....Yanet's baptism!!! It was absolutely perfect!!

I read a quote this morning that I had in some notes...and it reminded me of Saturday:
"The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do no just happen."

Yanet went through A LOT of things this last week in order to get baptized. She faced a lot of problems and challenges with her family, up until minutes before her baptism. But I have never seen anyone more determined and more ready than her in that moment. And she truly is a beautiful person, and leaving the water, she was literally glowing as tears rolled down her cheeks. ...She was waiting for more than a year for that moment, and I know that she knows that it was worth the wait.
The service was also super beautiful, because, well, it was planned to have 9 baptisms that day, as a zone. But it ended up being 3, but the whole zone came and we sang and had a presentation about prayer, baptism and enduring to the end. We sang, "A Child's Prayer", "When I Am Baptized" and "Come, Come Ye Saints", and the Spirit was SO strong! Everyone was touched by it, I know. I had a hard time keeping myself from crying. It was an absolutely perfect day.
This week was also Hermana Lerigeth's birthday! We had a little surprise party for her, and she was so surprised (obviously, haha!) It was SO hard keeping her from finding out all week, but luckily, one of the other hermanas, Hermana Rojas, speaks English too so that helped out a lot, haha ;)
We also had our Zone Conference with President this week! President talked a lot about the Atonement and...guess what?? If y'all don't know, there is a GREAT new video to watch and share for Easter! Here's the link: http://www.mormon.org/easter  Now everyone go watch it!! Then share it!!
Saturday was the General Women's Meeting and it was so great! I especially loved the talk by President Eyring. He said a couple of things that really made me think. One of them was, after mentioning Matthew 11:28-30, he said that the best way we can help comfort others is by helping the Lord make their burdens light. Most of the time, when I read this scripture, I always thought that prayer and scripture study was the way to receive that relief. But...as His disciples, He will sometimes send us to lighten their loads. He talked a lot about compassion...and I think it's an attribute of Christ that is extremely important to obtain.
Honestly, this week was just great! We struggled a little bit finding people to teach, but it's ok because we gave our all, and good things still came from it. It was a very spiritual week for me, and I really felt close to my Heavenly Father. And it will be even better this week with General Conference! Woot!!
Well, I love all of you so much! Have a fantastic week!
Love always,
Hermana Smith
Photo: The one with lots of people is Yanet with her kids! And her friend, Reina, also got baptized last Saturday! Such a special day!




March 23, 2015- Week 3 in Mayorazgo!



his week went by really really fast, yikes!! It was a harder week, but we were still able to have lots of good experiences!
Monday night: We found a new investigator (well, kinda!) Her name is Luz, and we contacted her the Saturday before. At first, we weren't really sure how it was gonna go, because when we met her, she told us that she is super Catholic and doesn't make commitments. But we just taught as plainly and directly as we could, and we could see her change right before our eyes. She started opening up more, and ended by telling us that she really wants to learn more! However...she's going to be in Tehuacan for the next month. :P So, I'll go back after transfers (that's if I don't have transfers) and we'll see how things go! We also went to a family home evening with the Primary Presidency! They are really awesome :)
Tuesday: We had a really great lesson with Yanet and her family that night! She is so ready for baptism! She is going to have her interview tonight, and her baptism is Saturday! It's going to be super awesome... I'll tell you why next week! ;) But it was crazy because right when we finished with prayer, the lights when out...in our WHOLE area. It was SO dark, and a little scary. They offered to walk us home because, well, we live in the city and who knows what could happen. It was really nice of them. But we were just so grateful we were with them and not just wandering around in the streets when they went out. God is aware of us, always!
Wednesday: "Como se llama?" worked! I'm not sure if I've explained it, but it translates to "What's their name?" And we're supposed to talk everyone about their family, friends, neighbors, the women that make their tortillas, etc and then ask them their names. It's President Stellmon's new way of receiving references, and it worked! We went to visit some less actives and when they didn't let us in, we just started asking them the names of all of their neighbors. I don't think they even realized what was happening until we wrote them all done then told them we were going to go visit them and see if they were interested! They immediately told us that no one was going to accept...but that wasn't true! The woman who lives in front of them totally let us in and is really interested! Her name is Lupita :) We were very happy to go back to that family that their neighbor had accepted the invitation, and thanks for helping out in the work! They sure were surprised!!
Thursday: We had intercambios and Hermana Newton came with me!! It was just like Cholula all over again! We had a really great day! We visit Yanet and the Lauras, and ate cinnamon bears (who knows where she found them, but i was happy!) This is her first time in her mission that she's serving in the city, but it's really growing on her :) I've always liked the city... I miss the calmness of the pueblitos, but I do like it here.
Friday: Ha, well, this was the day where no one was home....on to Saturday!
Saturday:We had mini-intercambios with Hermana Hymas and Hermana Moya, and I went with Hermana Hymas to her area.  She is super awesome :) We taught a 3-hour lesson that day... it was insane. Their investigator's name is Ricardo and he is SO close to getting baptized...but is just caught up on a few doubts that he has. It didn't matter if we tried to explain the answers, use scriptures, anything... he just couldn't accept what we said. It was a little frustrating, but more than anything, we just did our best to testify of the need to study and pray. We could try to explain things all day long, but it's way more effective when we find out for ourselves. I know that when he gets baptized, he is going to be a great member. I just really hope he can find his answers, or let his faith guide him instead of his questions. 

Sunday: Well, we were finally able to see Magda and Danny after a week of fallen appointments and well, we're not really sure what's going to happen. Danny really wants to get baptized, but his mom and step-dad are not permitting it. Magda has really withdrawn, and they didn't come to church yesterday so... we're going to keep trying to help Danny but who knows what's going to happen. :(

But it was a really great week. Every night this we came home so exhausted that we just planned then crashed. It was hard to work that hard in Cholula, so I sure am grateful for the chance to be here and be so exhausted. I was surprised by how fast the week went, but I think this week is going to go by even faster. If you can keep praying for Yanet, so that everything goes well for her baptism on Saturday!!
Quote of the week:

"Shape up. I say that to myself constantly. Shape up. Stand a little taller. Be a little better, a little stronger, a little more thoughtful, a little humbler, a little more prayerful, that you may be worthy of the guidance of the Lord and of His wonderful blessings."
-President Gordon B. Hinckley
You guys are wonderful! Thank you for all you do!! Have a great week!
Love always,
Hermana Smith


March 16, 2015- Week 2 in Mayorazgo!



This week was so great! Ahh! So many miracles!! I absolutely love it here, and it has been a huge blessing for us.
This week, we were able to find a couple of really awesome new investigators! And they were both just because of being in the right place at exactly the right time. The first one is Narciso, a 74-year old, who is super nice and humble. We had a morning planned with contacting references, visiting less-actives and EVERYTHING fell through. We had no more ideas, then we had the thought to visit the bishop, because earlier he had told us that he had a possible reference for us. We got to his house, and his in-laws were there, talking with Narciso. They invited us over quickly and told us that Narciso was interested in hearing our message. He had come to them for "spiritual advice" a few days before, they gave him a Book of Mormon, and about 5 minutes before we got there, he had returned, wanting to know more! Then we showed up! So we had a lesson with him, he's super interested and he even came to church yesterday! The second is Elizabeth. She is 32, has 3 kids and we contacted her while looking for the address of a less-active. She was super nice, helped us find the building, then invited us to come visit her the next day. She was super attentive, and from what we shared, a lot of it goes along with her beliefs. She wasn't able to go to church yesterday, but we're hoping to see her progress this week as well :)
Janeth is also progressing so much! She is most definitely going to be baptized the next week :) Her eyes are fixed on the 28th and aren't moving. We had a bit of a scare when her boyfriend showed up, but turns out that he's changed a lot and only wants the best for her. She was able to come to church yesterday (we saw the miracle of 4 investigators at church yesterday!) and she is basically a member. She's been attending for more than a year now... for example, this week, we decided to go over tithing and fasting again. And guess what? She already pays tithing and fast offerings. (WHAT??) She sends it with her kids who are already members, but as we taught, she just testified of all the blessings she has seen as a result of paying tithing. Can you say "perfect investigator" any more louder? Haha speaking of perfect investigators...Magda and Danny are incredible. I love them so much. Especially Danny :) We had a couple of really great lessons with them, and he loves reading the Book of Mormon. He marks his favorite parts, and explains them with so much detail. Yesterday, we ate dinner with them after church, and while we were walking to their house, we asked him what he had learning in Primary and he started to explain to us about having a clean and pure heart. He talks like he's 20 years old, I'm not joking. He is going to go places, that's for sure. Madga's less-active husband is putting a bit of a downer on their progress, but I have faith that I'll see at least one of their baptisms.
We also had a couple of great experiences as hermana leaders this week... We have a couple of new fresh out of the MTC hermanas and one was really struggling this past week. Her trainer informed me on Monday that the hermana wanted to go home, then on Tuesday we received a call from President asking us to go visit and talk with her. It was a really incredible experience. I've never really been in a situation that like, and I wasn't really sure what I could say to help. Hna Gomez never was like that either during her training, so I really had no idea. But... the Lord helps us. It was very humbling... and a really great opportunity for us and her trainer to reflect on why we're really here, what blessings have come from serving a mission, and why it is an experience that literally changes our lives. The hermana wasn't feeling perfect when we left, but she was better. We had a little mini-intercambio with them a couple days later, and she came with me to our area. We were able to talk a lot, and it was a blessing to get to know her, recognize her strengths and help her to see them too. ...The mission is hard. Honestly... every single one of us has days when we wonder if we could be doing more at home or in another place. But, we all have to stop for a second and realize what we'd be losing if we gave in to Satan's attacks. There is nothing like the mission. There is no other place where we can learn, change, work, pray, study, grow, self-reflect, suffer (only sometimes), and progress like the mission. The hermana asked me if I regret coming on a mission and I told her never. It's something I'll never regret. Long story short-ish... she has decided to stay and keep trying. :) The things that are the hardest are also the most worth it.
Another "miracle"! We found a restrauant that sells cemitas (they're kinda like sandwiches but super duper good) 2 x 25 pesos!!!! They're so cheap! And it's close to our house! Yay!! haha! For the nights when there is nothing left to eat in the house...haha. I'll take a picture next time :)
The other missionaries in our ward are super great :) Their names are Hermana Avalos (Argentina) and Hermana Rojas (Chihuahua). That in itself is a blessing! When all the missionaries in the ward don't get along...it makes for a long transfer. But when we all get along, it's great :) They are super funny, and super dedicated missionaries. We have grown to be good friends :) The pictures for this week is when we went to eat pizza today together :)
Is anyone else getting super excited for conference?? I've been re-reading some of the talks, and I read the one by Elder Martinez about our "personal ministries". It's a super great talk :) And this was my favorite quote...

The love of Jesus Christ must be our guide if we are to become aware of the needs of those we can help in some way. The teachings of our Lord, Jesus Christ, show us the way. And that is how our personal ministry begins: discovering needs, then tending to them. As Sister Linda K. Burton, Relief Society general president, said, “First observe, then serve.”
-Elder Hugo E. Martinez

I love all of you so very very much! You are all great, and thank you so much for your letters and prayers. I hope everyone has a great week!!
Love always,
Hermana Smith




March 9, 2015- Week 1 in.... Mayorazgo!!

Hey everyone!
Well, as you can see I'm now in Mayorazgo! Tuesday was on of the craziest days ever, definitely the craziest transfers meeting, that's for sure.
Well, this was me and Hermana Lerigeth on our way to the transfers meeting. It sure was hard, the thought of her not being my companion anymore... well, this is my new companion:






SURPRISE! SHE'S STILL MY COMPANION! HAHA!
Yeah, the transfers meeting sure was nuts! I don't know if I've ever explained the transfers meetings, but after President gives a short message, we all stand up, seperate on the two sides of the room, and he just calls us out and puts us in our new areas/companionships. They are super intense moments. She and I were standing together, awaiting our fates... they called zone after zone, and the only ones that were left were Mayorazgo and Atlixco. President then said, "Ok, now opening an area in Mayorazgo, ward Granjas del Sur, Hermana Lerigeth as hermana leader 1 and Hermana Smith as hermana leader 2." I honestly thought he was talking about the other Hermana Smith for a second, until I remember that she didn't have transfers! I wish I had a photo of what my face was like at that moment...I'm sure it was classic! But we were definitely the happiest people in that room that day! Haha, but yup! We're opening a brand new area, and we've been asked to be the hermana leaders for Mayorazgo. This last week has been a LOT of work, but we are enjoying every single second of it.
One of the little challenges has been the fact that, well, we don't know anyone here! But, the ward mission leader is awesome (actually, the whole ward is incredible) and they've been showing us the whole area all week. We only have a couple of progressing investigators, but we put baptismal dates with 3 of them this week! Janeth has been listening for a long time (her whole family, including almost all of her kids, are already members) but she finally committed to a date, saying that she "can't delay her salvation any longer". Her date is for March 28th! Also, there is Magda and her son Daniel (8). Her husband is less-active, have been assisting for almost a year, but her husband keeps telling her that she's not ready yet to get baptized. Men. Haha. But she is really excited, and loves the church. Daniel is THE smartest 8 year old I have ever met! We just love him! He's asks so many good questions, and he loves the gospel too. We set their dates for April! Other than them, we are getting to know others and asking for lots of references! But, we've been working so much, and it's great! It's a huge difference from what it was like in our other area.
The other challenge is that we are hermana leaders, haha. I really thought that I would be a normal missionary for the rest of my mission but the Lord is full of surprises! But there aren't very many hermanas here (not like Atlixco!), and for that I am grateful. There are 5 other companionships besides us. 3 of them have brand new hermanas, fresh from the MTC. But, it's going to be a great learning experience (we're already learning a lot) and we're excited :) On Friday, we were able to go the mission leadership counsel, and it really helped us to know what we need to do more as hermana leaders. One thing that President talked a lot about was revelation. He gave us 5 steps to recieve revelation, which are:
1. Obedience
2. Work with all our heart, might, mind and strength
3. Study and Develop Christ-like Attributes
4. Fast, Pray, and meditate the story of the rich man (Matthew 19:16-21) and ask ourselves "What more do I need to do?"
5. Have confidance in ourselves that God truly is giving us revelation, and it's not just our own ideas
He also told us that...especially as leaders, it's not our job to give all the answers. Our job is creating an environment where the Spirit will help them recieve their own inspiration and answers. Sometimes that can be hard, and sometimes it's just easier to give them what they're asking for. But, that doesn't help us progress or learn. So that is one of my goals for this transfer, to be better at that.
Yesterday morning, I was studying the lesson from the Ezra Taft Benson manuel before church. I just want to share one of my favorite parts of the lesson (I'm sure a lot of you have already read it).

"I hope we will not live in the past. People who live in the past don’t have very much future. There is a great tendency for us to lament about our losses, about decisions that we have made that we think in retrospect were probably wrong decisions. There is a great tendency for us to feel badly about the circumstances with which we are surrounded, thinking they might have been better had we made different decisions. We can profit by the experience of the past. But let us not spend our time worrying about decisions that have been made, mistakes that have been made. Let us live in the present and in the future."

We like to share Mormon Messages with less-actives, members, non-members...everyone! Haha, but one of our favorites is the one where it talks about Lot's wife and how we should never look back. We shouldn't live in the past, nor dwell on our past mistakes, if we've repented of them. There are so many great things awaiting us in the future, but if we're too caught up on what might have been, or what could've changed if we had done something better, then we're going to miss a lot of opportunities. As a missionary, sometimes it's hard to not let thoughts like that creep into our minds. But God knows our hearts and intentions, and if we don't give our all, our job is repent and try harder. It's one thing I love about transfers - we get the chance to just focus on the present and the future. The past area is behind us, and we did all we could. We just have to keep looking forward and not let the past hold us back.
Anyways, I love this area and I'm so happy to still be with Hermana Lerigeth her last transfer! It's going to be so great!! :) I love you all, and I hope you all have a great week!

Love always,
Hermana Smith
Photos:
-So....part of the whole "new house"/opening an area thing was that we had no utensils! (or beds, a mirror, a fridge...lots of things haha) So, this is me eating ramon noodles yesterday with...pencils :) Hermana Lerigeth used an eyebrow plucker, haha
-The landlord, Elias, is a little special. I wish I could write all of our experiences with him in this letter, but they will just have to wait. But one thing he does is he sits at the door (sometimes with his wife) all day long. All day. He's pretty funny. But they take care of us, even if it's with a lot of tough love haha



March 2, 2015- Week 8 in Ometoxtla (And the last!)

Well, we got the transfers call! Hermana Lerigeth and I both have transfers! Hermana Newton too... we're sad to leave Hermana Linford. These last 8 weeks have been the best, especially since we've been living with them. I've learned so much from all of them and they are really like sisters to me. But it'll be exciting to know tomorrow where I'm going and who will be my companion! It's very likely that this will be the last change of my mission...who knows?!

This week was kinda a heart-breaker week with the investigators.... Guille told us that she can't get baptized for family reasons and everyone else doesn't want to progress either. This area has been kinda "dead" for a while, and we're actually pretty sure that President is going to close it. But I know I was here for a reason, and I have changed a lot. Sometimes we have areas to help change us.

I had a lot of new experiences this week... like a lesson with a 7th Day Adventist. That was an adventure! Also, my companion(s) were awesome to remember my birthday :) We ate cheesecake, they gave me cute Little gifts and we just enjoyed Sunday. I can't believe I'm 21 years old!! So crazy! But it's going to be a really great year!

This morning we ate breakfast with a really awesome family in the Ward. And seeing as it was our last day here.... they asked us what experiences have changed us most on the mission. ...I can't think of just one. All of them has changed me in a small way. But all of these experiences have lead me back to one thing - faith in my Heavenly Father and my Savior, Jesús Christ. Life throws us curveballs. Sometimes, we throw our own curveballs. But if we face them with the right attitude, those experiences will strengthen our faith. And it reminded me of one of my favorite quotes, by President Uchtdorf:

"Remember: the heavens will not be filled with those who never made mistakes but with those who recognized that they were off course and who corrected their ways to get back in the light of gospel truth." 

What we do in this life is SO important. And our attitude while we do certain things may be even more important. I love this Gospel because it is a perfect blueprint of how we need to live our lives. It is perfect, and we can trust in every single one of the blessing God has promised. But we have to live by the blueprint in order to receive those blessings. But sometimes....we make mistakes. We get off track. But we can ALWAYS go back. It is never too late. No matter what comes into our lives, we can always start every day fresh and clean as we apply the Atonement to our lives. And that is what I've learned most, and what has changed me the most.

I'm sorry that I don't have a lot of time to write, but I love all of you so much! Thank you for all the birthday wishes, and I hope you all have a wonderful week! You are in my thoughts and prayers!

Love always,
Hermana Smith

Photos:
-Birthday cheesecake!
-BEST DISTRICT EVER. I'm gonna miss all of them so much
We also taught english classes this week and taught everyone the hokey pokey! it was great!








February 23, 2015- Week 7 in Ometoxtla!

Hey y'all!

So this week went a lot better work-wise haha! No trips to the hospital this time, so that was a bonus! Hermana Linford and I might have gotten the flu...but it was just a 24-hour thing so no big deal! But we were able to work a lot this week, and it just felt great!

A miracle happened this week!!! Well, both Guillermina and Rosalba have been SO close to accepting baptismal dates, but just haven't quite committed yet. But this week, one of the hermana's investigators, Juana, got baptized and they both went! They both were in tears. Guille told us afterwards that she just kept thinking "why isn't this my baptismal service??" She actually committed afterwards to be baptized this next Sunday! However, she's been SUPER sick (and with the illness she has in her lungs, it makes everything worse) and she wasn't able to get to church yesterday :( But please pray for a miracle! She's ready for baptism and she's super excited! Rosalba also loved it, and afterwards said something like "one day soon, that will be me". It was such an awesome experience. 

We also got to do LOTS of service on Saturday! We went and helped Rosabla's family make tamales (and left with quite a few addresses) and we also helped some less actives make bricks! Two things that I've never done before, but I enjoyed it a lot! 

This week, I found an AWESOME quote that I wanted to share with all of you.

"All you have to worry about is that you are doing your best in the place where you are today....There is nothing you can do about yesterday except repent. That means if you made mistakes yesterday, don't be making them today. Don't worry about tomorrow, because you may have no tomorrows....If you can always witness honestly that whatever you did, you did to the best of your ability, and the next da try improvement on that, when your life's end comes, of you it can be said in truth, his was a successful life because he lived to the best that was in him... All the Lord asks is that we do our bestñ and that's the measure by which we'll be judged when that time comes."
-President Harold B. Lee

I also turned 15 months old this last Friday...so crazy how fast the time goes. But I still have a long ways to go! ;) Hermana Linford and I were kinda freaking about it...but then I read this quote. And you know, I do the best I can to end each day with no regrets. And that's what I'm gonna keep doing for the next 13 weeks. I put this quote up on my wall just to remind me to repent and do better every day. And really, that's life! This life is to improve and grow, and if we're honestly working on that, then things are going to be ok. Things are going to be wonderful actually :) 

This Sunday we also know about transfers...so next Monday I may have some news for everyone! Who knows?!

I love all of you so much!!!! Thank you for all you do! Have a great week everyone!!

Love always,
Hermana Smith

Photos:
-Volcano!
-Hna Linford and I :)
-Us and Guille at the baptism
-SPANGLISH.
Aaaand my yummy quesidilla :) It's with a blue tortilla (which I love!)













February 16, 2015- Week 6 in Ometoxtla (AKA: One of the weirdest weeks of my mission!)





Ok. Well. This email is going to be a little weird, because there were really only 3 things that happened this week. 

1. We changed houses (because the house we were living in may or may not be haunted) and we now are living with Hermana Newton and Hermana Linford!
2. Interviews with President
3. 4 long days in the hospital

To start with the house....well, more than anything, President Stellmon just told us to get out and live with the hermanas until transfers. So Tuesday and Wednesday, we moved and cleaned, with the help of the zone leaders and our district leader. Pretty exciting stuff :)

On Tuesday, we also had interviews with President! It was really great! The assistants gave a training meeting about recognizing and reaching our full potential, and helped us to remember the excitement we had when we first got here to the mission. We reread our mission calls and...well, it was just super powerful. I remember that moment so well, like it was yesterday. There was so much excitement, shock, nerves, and peace. It was a great reminder, and once again, a feeling of peace came over me, knowing that I'm exactly where the Lord wants me to be.

Sooo....the hospital. Well, I've had a pretty nasty cough for the last 3 weeks or so. On Wednesday, however, it got to the point where I couldn't breathe very well, my chest hurt like crazy, all that fun stuff. So Hermana Stellmon told me I had to go see a doctor, because she wasn't sure if I have bronchitis or pnemonia. So...on Thursday we went to the hospital in Puebla, they took an x-ray and then diagnosed me with bronchitis. Then they told me that I'd have to stay in the hospital for 2 days! We did everything possible just get some medicine and leave, but they wouldn't let us. So they hooked me up to an IV, started giving me who-knows-what to get me "better" and...slowing, Friday turned into Saturday...then Sunday...then President decided to help me escape, because I was just getting worse. He showed up, told us to pack up, and got us out of there. The doctors were pretty upset, but we didn't care! I honestly feel SO much better now than I did while I was there. I still have a little cough, but I feel a lot better, no worries :)

We had lots of fun experiences, too many to tell, but there is one that I want to share. Well, on Saturday, when they told me I had to stay until Sunday, I was a little depressed and frustrated. I felt awful because we weren't working, my companion was bored out of her mind and I didn't feel like I was getting any better. That night, I was saying my nightly prayer, just asking Heavenly Father to show me some purpose to all of it, and in walked Teo, a sweet little nurse. :) We started talking to her about the church, what we do as missionaries, and she got so excited. She asked for a pamphelt, and during her night shift, she read it! She came the next morning and had more questions... we wrote down her address and she's super excited to talk to the missionaries. So, the point to this story is that our Heavenly Father sometimes works in mysterious ways, or at least ways that are hard for us to understand. But His work is the work of salvation, and nothing will get in the way of that :)

I'm sorry that this email isn't too exciting....I mostly just wanted to let you guys know I'm perfectly ok. :) We're back in the area working, and this week is going to be awesome! Thank you for your prayers though, I know they helped. :) I love all of you so much! Have a great week!

Love always,
Hermana Smith

Photos:
My yummy hospital food! 
My comp and I. She's a trooper, that's for sure.
USA!




February 9, 2015- Week 5 in Ometoxtla!





Hola!

This week was pretty good :) On Monday, it was Guillermina's birthday! We bought her a little cake and had a little party. We still don't know if she's going to get baptized soon...but we know that she's definitely thinking about it more. The other investigators that we have...well they're not really investigators anymore. None of them want to progress anymore. :( But, we're looking for new investigators and, we had the blessing of finding one yesterday! He's name is Cesar, and he is the husband of an less-active. He listened to missionaries about 3 years ago, but decided to stop investigating. But, I think we were able to win the family over yesterday, and now they love us! And he told us that he would like to learn more, just so they can teach their daughters more about God. We'll see how it goes!

The best part of the week was Saturday night, at 9:00, when the 1st counselor in the bishopric (who knows how to spell that??) came and informed us that he forgot to tell us that we were going to speak in church! We did our best to prepare that night (because church starts at 8) and hopefully it turned out ok! I really liked the topic they gave me: how to achieve eternal goals. It made me think of PPI's with my dad, Personal Progress, and the importance of our daily decisions. I absolutely love goals :) They're the best.

On Wednesday, we had a great zone conference! One of the zone leaders, Elder Masapanta, talked to us about faith. More than anything, he mentioned 6 things that destoy our faith. They are:
1. Doubt
2. Discouragement
3. Distractions
4. Lack of Diligence
5. Disobedience
6. Unbelief
I think as missionaries, it's easy to fall into one or more of these things. But it really helped me to understand that our attitudes are everything. When we aren't optimisic, we weaken our faith. When we focus on unimportant things, we weaken our faith. When we don't have an attitude of obedience, we weaken our faith. When we stop believing that we can change, that the investigators will change, that the area can change, etc., we weaken our faith. And, well, I needed to see this list and figure out how to keep from falling into one of these habits. A friend asked me this week, "What do you do to keep motivated?" And my answer is... increase your faith. Do everything you can to keep your faith growing, and the motivation will come. Maybe you won't see a lot of "fruits" from your labor, but you'll find the strengeth to keep going anyway. 

For example: After a long week of fallen appointments, "for the last time, no"´s, and crazy hot afternoons and freezing nights, my companion and I found ourselves with one of our "last hopes", a 70 year old man named Florentino. We had contacted him a few weeks ago, and were finally able to see him again. We sat outside his house to talk to him, or rather, to listen to him for almost an hour as he told us about his life. The sun was scorching hot, I kept sitting back into a wall of cactuses, and when we asked if we could come back again to share our message, he said something like, "Thank you, but I think we'll just leave it how it is." AKA: No. Before, I probably would've been upset, disappointed, without desires to keep searching... but we told him thank you, then went and contacted another person a little ways down the road. "Satan will always try to give you reasons to give up, but you have to show him that he shouldn't even bother, that you trust in God too much to give up." My best friend told me that once, and it's what I always remember when things get a little tough.

This week, I also had the blessing of having intercambios with Hermana Condé :) She came to our area, and we had a great time. We helped an hermana wash clothes by hand for 2 hours, we had a great lesson with Guillermina (she almost accepted the baptismal commitment!) and shared our mission stories :) She's a super positive and funny person, and I really enjoyed our day together.

It's gonna be a great week! I love all of you so much! Thank you for your love and prayers :) Until next week!

Love always,
Hermana Smith

Photo: Happy Birthday to Guillermina :)


February 2, 2015- Week 4 in Ometoxtla!



Hey everyone!

This week was a pretty normal one! Nothing too exciting happened...only a few things :)

I think I mentioned Fernando during my first week here...but we were finally able to teach him this week! He is 20 years old and really great. His family, however, does not like us very much haha. So, we have to teach him at the church, far far away from his family. But, it was a super great lesson, and it really boosted our optimism. He studied the Restoration pamphlet, even the additional study in the back, and is excited to learn more! Hopefully I'll have more news next week about him! And for the other investigators...well, for the first time in my mission, they are all reading, praying, going to church....but none of them want to set baptismal dates. Usually it's the other way around! But, I know that somehow, things will start to work out. This week, Hna Lerigeth and I have been searching for ways to increase our faith in order to see the miracles here in this area, and it was a huge blessing for us to be able to fast this week. Even though we're still not quite sure how to motivate our investigators, prayer and fasting brought a huge sense of peace to our hearts.

One thing that I got the chance to study more this week was covenants! (Seeing as our investigators don't quite understand yet why they're so amazing!) But I was studying a conference talk this week by Sister Stevens of the General Primary Presidency, and I found this quote that I really liked.

"Covenants with God help us to know who we really are. They connect us to Him in a personal way through which we come to feel our value in His sight and our place in His kingdom. In a way we can’t fully comprehend,we are known and loved individually by Him. Think of it—each of us holds such a place in His heart."

I know that this quote is 100% true. It is really hard for us to understand the love that Heavenly Father has for us, and that, in reality, every single one of us holds a special place in His heart. But, the covenants we make help us to feel that love and feel our value. I'll never forget the first time, and well every time, I went to the temple, because I could feel His love so strongly there. And the most wonderful moments of my week are when I can take the Sacrament, and feel completley and utterly embraced in His love, knowing that He loves me enough to always give me more chances to change. Covenants lead us back to Him, and they help us to understand our divine destiny as His children. The covenants I have made have helped me to stay on the path and progress. There is no other way we can grow spiritually unless we make covenants with God and apply them to every moment of our lives. 

We were also able to have a little mini conference with President this week, and he talked more about goals! He absolutely loves goals. And he is going to be asked each of us in our interviews with him about the goals we have to increase our faith in Christ this year. So, while I'm thinking about these goals, I invite all of you to think of some too :) I love all of you so much, and you're always in my heart and prayers. Have a great week!!!

Love always,
Hermana Smith

Photos:
-Last day of working in the field!
-Tamales and atole :) 
-Our "humble" home
-I love my companion :) She's the best
-Molotes :) (Told ya I'd send more pictures of food!)